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248 MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE
a disarranged condition of furniture in a room indicate a struggle having
taken place, and are therefore greatly in favour of homicide. It should,
however, be remembered that cases are on record where lunatics upset and
damaged the furniture owing to the maniacal frenzy before they committed
Foot-prints in blood or dirt on the floor or veranda of the room in
which a body is found should be carefully examined and compared with
those of the victim or those of the suspected person in order to determine
if it is a case of suicide cr homicide. Blood-stained finger-marks on the
furniture or on the corpse will indicate homicide, if they do not correspond
with the finger-marks of the victim. These foot-prints and finger-prints
should be photographed so that they might be used for identifying the
assassin in the future.
A body found at the foot of a precipice or on a railway line points to
suicide or accident; but it may have been placed there to conceal the act
of homicide. In that case a careful search should be made for the presence
of marks of dragging the body on the ground, marks of blood stains, and
foot-prints on tEe ground and in the vicinity.
A weapon firm^^gaspei,i|i the hand of the deceased person is strongly
suggestive of suiciSe/iSrsucH a case blood is generally found on the outside
of the hand and fingers, or between the fingers, but not on the palm and the
palmar aspect of the fingers. There may be blood stains on the wrist.
Portions of hair, fragments of clothing or some other foreign material firmly
^grasped in the hand of the corpse is indicative of homicide.
Suicide is generally suspected if a weapon is found lyjng-.near the body,
It should be examined for the presence of blood stains, and it should be
determined whether the wounds could have been caused by the weapon ;
for it is quite possible that the weapon found may not be that with which
the injuries were inflicted. It is also possible that the weapon may be quite
clean if it was wiped with a piece of cloth or towel, which would very likely
be found lying in the vicinity.
The flT-tfagpfg^nf a \ypapnn in the vicinity of the body is suggestive of
homicide, but not necessarily, for a suicide may conceal the weapon or
throw it away after inflicting a fatal injury on himself. T. H. G. Shore31
reports the case of a suicide, where a sergeant inflicted two cuts on the
left side of the neck, which joined into one large gash above his larynx and
extended to the right side. He had divided both internal jugular veins and
both superior thyroid arteries. The oesophagus, prevertebral muscles and
the discs between the fourth and fifth cervical vertebr3e were all injured.
After inflicting all these injuries he put away his razor into its case, and
that into its usual place in his kit-bag. I saw a case where an old man
threw away his knife into a well after cutting his throat, and then jumped
All the articles found on or near the body and likely to be of any value
in detecting the crime should be carefully examined and then sent to the
Superintendent of Police or Magistrate in sealed packets.
31. Lancet, July 24, 190^ p.